By Sophia Whitfield
It is an interesting concept to release a film without the main protagonist. Jason Bourne, played by Matt Damon in the successful franchise, is missing from the latest Bourne film. He appears surreptitiously through photographs in files, but we never see him in the flesh.
Directed and written by Tony Gilroy, the last two Bourne films were directed by Greengrass, this film is driven by character rather than action. Gilroy has created rogue agent Aaron Cross for The Bourne Legacy. He does not appear in any of the Bourne books written by Robert Ludlum.
The film opens with Guardian reporter Simon Ross, being shot – remember the scene? Ross has been working on an article that threatens to unveil a government program of highly trained operatives, an elite team created using experimental drugs. It is a clever way to keep the film running parallel to the last Bourne film. Treadstone and Bourne are all in the background as a new rogue agent, Aaron Cross, is introduced.
Eric Byer (Ed Norton) is frustrated with the incompetence of the CIA. Concerned that the program has been compromised, he orders its immediate shut down. Cross (Jeremy Renner) begins his escape from Alaska, after witnessing the demise of the program, marred by a drone and a pack of wolves. The opening scenes are spectacular.
On the run, Cross is desperate to acquire the drugs that keep his IQ and physical prowess in top form. He seeks the aid of virologist Dr Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz), who now finds herself in danger after her own involvement with the program.
There is enough action to keep the diehard Bourne fan happy. A rooftop chase and subsequent motorbike chase brings the action back to the forefront. Between these fast paced chase scenes the characters are well developed. Renner is believable as the tough guy with his rugged exterior fading during the scenes with Marta. He is not the lost vulnerable Bourne, but a gutsier, less chiselled character.
The ingenuity that we see at the start of the film with Cross stealthily depositing his tracking device and the parallel storytelling loses some of its impetus towards the conclusion of the film. However Gilroy has done an admirable job of incorporating new characters into The Bourne Legacy, breathing new life into a 10-year-old franchise.
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